Friday, 7 February 2014

Adventure's into the Unknown

Yet again it's been a very wet week at the fen, I don't think I've posted a blog this year when it hasn't! As ever though the ranger team have been carrying on working whatever the weather.

Early in the week, Andy and I were putting up some fence posts on Burwell fen and then got one of the vehicles stuck. While John came out to rescue us he then told us that we had put the fence posts in the wrong place. Overall, not a good way to start the week. Though, the day was brightened up by having a kestrel hunting a few feet away from me. Lois, Niki and I have now moved the posts so that they are accurately marking each end of all the culvert pipes along the ditch that runs along the south end of the Burwell Fen. This will hopefully mean we wont pull the pipes up when the ditch gets slubbed out.
It's only a little bit stuck, honest. 
I don't think this is a bad photo of a kestrel considering it was taken with my phone!
While on Burwell the three of us checked that there was no new calf. Rush still hasn't giving birth and we are starting to feel like an extended episode of "Call the Midwife". Lois also got a lesson on how to judge if a cow is going to give birth, with a little too much detail in her opinion!

Parsley is also waiting excitedly for a new calf to play with. 
On Wednesday, while a small ranger team were pushing back some scrub to widen the path just beyond the Old Tower Hide, the rest of us enjoyed a very interesting talk about the Antarctic. One of our volunteers, Andy Rodgers, who used worked for the British Antarctic Survey, kicked off our spring talks season with an account of what it is like to live and work on that remote continent. The next month's talk is about the grazing animals on the fen, by our very own Grazing Ranger, Carol Laidlaw.

Yesterday, Martin lead an exploratory expedition for the Wicken Fen Staff into St. Edmund's Fen, which is the opposite side of Wicken Lode to the Sedge Fen. It hasn't been managed for over 5 years, so really feels like heading into the wilderness. There are still some open areas of reed bed through the wet wood or Carr, but trying to follow the old pathways was a challenge.

Photo: This afternoon a group of staff and volunteers made an expedition to St Edmunds Fen, a seldom visited part of the nature reserve, only yards from the main visitor centre. 
The fen is a mix of reedbed and wet woodland habitat and as the picture shows, very wet, muddy and smelly in places.
Ruby venturing into the wilds of St. Edmund's Fen

John, Andy and I have been completing the tree health survey on some of the further reaches of the vision land today. The Gutterbridge Wood has a few dodgy looking trees which we will do some work with, but it also has some really nice fungi around the place and Lords and Ladies starting to push up through the soil.

Some building work has starting on the back of Rose Cottage, our volunteer accommodation, so don't be alarmed if your walking down Lode Lane. Ruby will blog a more detailed account of what is going on there when the construction is near completion. 

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